the life I want

We have friends in town right now. Scott's college friend Josh and his two boys are staying with us for the weekend. The day before they came into town, Wednesday, our area of the country was struck with many tornadoes. We were blessed to survive unscathed, while huge trees fell down all over the city, downing power lines and destroying homes. Mere miles away, the destruction was even worse. Houses were missing off of hillsides, and people lost both their homes and their neighbors.
My neighbor Sara and her partner went to help with chainsaws the next day, and left their kids with me. Another friend, whose house was blessedly left standing but who had 8 trees in her yard fall, also dropped her kids off with me that day. I spent all day playing with six kids, making sandwiches, putting babies down for naps, and generally enjoying myself. As the day ended and the kids cleared out, Josh and his boys came into town.
Taking care of all these children, friends and neighbors in my house has stirred something in me, and I couldn't quite figure it out until I started reading "Radical Homemakers" by Shannon Hayes. Her book discusses the worth of domesticity (not just of women), the value of having a life centered around a home, feminism, and community. I'm only 49 pages in but am certain that this book is changing my life. It is validating and putting words to a movement within myself I've not yet put words to. I knew when I decided to stay home with my kids that it was the right thing for me, yet I've struggled to find meaning in it, living in a society and culture that only values the exchange of money. I want to self-actualize, and have considered going back to school, and trying to pursue something outside the home, but it just doesn't feel like what I truly want. Now I am beginning to understand a vision of the life I want.
I want to work in my home. I want to garden, make things from scratch, sew and mend, build and grow. I don't want to do it alone. I want a community of people who want the same. I want to barter with them, and exchange our knowledge and crafts.
Now I see why leaving Columbia was so hard. I was building that community. I was beginning to build a large circle of friends who all together created a wealth of knowledge and skills. Gardening, sewing, canning, fermenting, baking, building, repairing. Together, we could do it all, and eschew the consumerism that drives our society. As I go forward in life, I will seek community where ever I may land, and I hope to build it as I go.


moss and smooth stones

Easter was great this year. Finn's basket included a wooden egg painted with chalkboard chalk, chalk included, made by a dear friend of mine. It also had a yellow bird felt finger puppet, that I made during a sudden surge of creativity. Another thing to come out of that creative surge is the little toy I made for Evelyn's easter gift. It's simple - a circle with some layers of quilt batting and crinkly plastic inside, and rimmed with tabs of ribbon to chew on and feel. She seemed to enjoy investigating this new thing.
Then we headed outside to hunt for some eggs. I only put one chocolate covered cranberry in each egg, knowing that Finn would be pausing in the yard to eat his goodies. As you can see, Scott and I were armed with coffee.
The best part was the hike. We loaded up kids and dog, packed up some sandwiches and apples, and headed to a quiet hiking spot. Scott and I were grumpy with one another (cause unknown) but as we arrived, unloaded, and began in on the trail, the mood changed. The fresh morning air cleared us out, and we began to spot inchworms and mushrooms and wildflowers along the path. We hiked higher, coming to a forested waterfall. We crossed and climbed higher, going through a natural stone cave, or short tunnel, rather, and came out on the other side to follow the stream upward. We turned over rocks and found a salamander. We spotted millipedes. We touched moss and smooth stones. We laughed as our dog went for many swims and came back to shore to shake water all over us. 
After coming back home and taking a nap, we spent some time eating with our family.
The day ended with baths and snuggles, and story time.
A beautiful day spent mostly in Tennessee wilderness, in the springtime. I couldn't ask for better, but I do hope the morning hike becomes tradition!

How was your Easter? Did you start any new traditions?


heal what ails you

I don't have any fun photos to share this time, but I would have had some if I'd taken the camera with me to the yard today. Imagine this - two mostly naked babies, playing in a tub of water in the grass. That happy image would heal what ails you, at least it did for me.
This morning I was in a bad place. Not feeling the best physically (had a stomach virus over the weekend that still has me a little weak feeling) and trying to hold it together emotionally. That didn't exactly work, and twice I ended up falling onto my bed in tears and frustration, to "take a little break" as Finn calls it when he heads to his bed to shed some tears. I cried a little bit, looked at my kids, and tried again. Then I became frustrated and overwhelmed all over again and repeated the cycle. I had plans to try to get out of the house, and do a little shopping for a few things that we need. Instead, I gave up on it and made some sandwiches. We ate and then stepped out onto the porch. Something was telling me that if I could just get outside I would feel better.
We sat on the porch for a while, and the sun warmed my bare arms. The recycling truck came by and Finn jumped with joy and waved and said "thank you!" as it took away our recycling. Finn got the recycling tub and brought it back to the porch, it was filthy. So we gathered rags and soap and took it to the side of the house, put it under the spigot, and began the process. If you have ever played with a toddler, you know where this is going - naked! Inside the tub! Splashing! Jumping out and rolling in the grass! And if you have played with a baby, you could guess about Evelyn, too - wanting to be like brother! Naked! Inside the tub! etc, etc.
Watching those two play while I sat on the grass and soaked up the sun just warmed my heart right up. It dried out the seemingly endless well of sadness and despair, and brought joy to me. I remembered the blessings in my life - two happy and healthy children, a home, running water, warm sun and soft grass. And it definitely cured all that ailed me. 

Have you been surprised by the way a day turned around? What cures your ailments?